Learn to Decorate Metal Charms with Transfers

Aug 28, 2008

Today's guest editor is Melinda Barta.  Melinda is managing editor of Beadwork and Stringing magazines and former project editor of PieceWork magazine. She is also the author of Custom Cool Jewelry and Hip to Stitch and teaches workshops at schools across the country, including Penland School of Crafts and John C. Campbell Folk School. Melinda has made appearances on TV programs including Uncommon Threads, Scrapbooking, and Craft Corner Death Match.   

How Did You Make That?

by Melinda Barta

Whether you prefer stringing beads, wire wrapping, or seed-beading, you, like me, love anything handmade. If, dare I say, you have non-crafty friends, they probably think you are crazy for staying up until 2 a.m. just to finish a project.

What made the midnight beading sessions worth it for me? When someone asks “How did you make that?” and now I can happily say “It’s so easy, let me show you!”  In my newest book, Custom Cool Jewelry: 200+ Personalized Pendants, Charms, and Clasps, I do just that—show you how easy and fun it is to create custom elements for your jewelry.

But I must warn you, it’s addicting. Although the title says 200+, I actually made over 275 samples in the process of writing the book and, surprisingly, I never tired because each project turned out completely different than the next, and most required the use of entirely different techniques—constantly keeping my creative juices flowing.

What You Want to Make

I know you also love to experiment with new techniques. When Beading Daily readers voted for which of my new projects you wanted for free download, it was an amazingly close finish:

• 35.2% of you chose Splash of Pattern—how to decorate premade metal charms with ornate rub-on transfers
• 32.9% like Impressionable Clay—using common rubber stamps to endlessly pattern polymer clay pendants
• 31.9% want to make my Flirty Frames—creating pendants from common bead frames, chain, and simple dangles

Splash of Pattern

I’m so happy you chose Splash of Pattern for the winning project! It’s one of my quick-and-easy favorites: Basically, just run to your local scrapbooking or craft store (or if you’re wanting to work with letters, you can check an office supply store) and look for rub-on transfers—your options are limitless, they come in a wide variety of designs and colors (dark colors tend to turn out best). Scrapbookers use these to decorate their pages but after some experimenting, I realized they stick to just about anything!  To protect the transfers, simply spray them a few times with a couple of coats of clear matte acrylic spray and voilà!  Update:  This winning project was available to Beading Daily readers from August 29-September 5, 2008.  You may now find the full instructions in the book Custom Cool Jewelry by Melinda Barta.

Want More?

From glass-etched pendants (easily made using cream found at any craft store) and shrink-plastic pendants and charms to embossed paper pendants and wirewrapped teardrop bails, I promise my book Custom Cool Jewelry will teach you new low-tech and low-cost ways to add personal touches to your jewelry. Preview the fabric-collage pendants and purchase the book here.

I’d love to chat with you—please visit me on the forums. Right now we’re chatting about different types of resins/sealants used to make custom collage pendants and charms—see my fun Love of Travel bracelet at left that combines these custom-made charms with purchased charms. I had many great inquiries about this book project at Bead Fest last weekend—thank you to everyone who attended the book signings. Join the discussion now.

Learn how Melinda pitched her book idea to Interweave's book department in the Fall issue of Stringing magazine on sale October 7, 2008. 

There will be no Beading Daily on Monday, September 1 because of the Labor Day holiday.  Remember that the forums are always open, so please come by if you need your beading fix!

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DarleneJ@4 wrote
on Aug 29, 2008 9:59 AM

I bought Melinda's new book and love it! I can always spot Melinda's creations in Stringing magazine and other publications. All of her work is beautiful and her talent and attention to detail is unmistakable!

I have been beading for many years now, and "Custom Cool Jewelry" is a great inspiration to any beader regardless of skill level. It looks outside the box and gives basis stringing and wire wrap techniques a more unique and personal flair with an undeniable sense of style! I plan to share it with all my beading students in my classes!

Bravo Melinda and Interweave Press.

Nemeton wrote
on Aug 30, 2008 1:32 AM

This project is such a great idea - I have steered clear of sticky stuff like varnish and glue for years because with me it always ends up fingerprinted and fluffy, no matter how careful I am, but I am inspired to have another go now!

mosolyrend wrote
on Aug 31, 2008 12:40 AM


Jsmaz wrote
on Aug 31, 2008 12:44 AM

I just ordered this book, since it seems like there's a lot of useful info for things that interest me but haven't tried yet.  I look forward to reading it.

I'm also interested in Interweave's fabric bead book that's upcoming.  I've been saving fabric scraps from the quilt I'm making with the intention of making beads out of them, so by the time the book comes out I should be ready to try some!

waterrose wrote
on Aug 31, 2008 2:53 PM

Hello. I couldn't find another place to leave a thank you for visiting and the nice comment. I laughed when I followed the link back, since I have to force myself from entering the beading world...I have absolutely no skill in this area but it is so enticing with all of the beautiful pieces that I see and exquisite beads. By the way...I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for my copy.

NitzaA wrote
on Aug 31, 2008 4:30 PM

I bought your book. I like it very much. Is very inspirational. I will try various techniques for my jewelry. What I found very atractive is the techniques I can use with modifications. It's an excellent reference book for everyone. Continue with your excelent work!!!!

tokmik wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 1:23 AM

Excellent idea! I always wish to have my own charm bracelet.

With my own design on it. Thank you for the techniques!

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